American Sugar Refining Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

American Sugar Refining Company
IndustrySugar refinery
FounderHenry Osborne Havemeyer

The American Sugar Refining Company (ASR) was the largest American business unit in the sugar refining industry in the early 1900s. It had interests in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean locations, and operated one of the world's largest sugar refineries located in Brooklyn, New York.


The ASR was incorporated in the state of New Jersey on January 10, 1891 by Henry Osborne Havemeyer, with $50 million in capital.[1] By 1907, it owned or controlled 98% of the sugar processing capacity in the United States and was known as the Sugar Trust.[2][1]

The United States Supreme Court declared in United States v. E. C. Knight Company that its purchase of the stock of competitors was not a combination in restraint of trade.[3] By 1901, the company had $90 million in capital.[1] The company became known as Domino Sugar in 1900.[citation needed]


The combination expanded horizontally for about twenty years as new competitors arose; later it expanded vertically, undertaking the production of cane sugar and raw sugar in Cuba and acquiring lumber interests. In May 1896, American Sugar Refining Company became one of the original 12 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company was investigated by the Industrial Commission in 1900 and by a special congressional committee in 1911–1912.

In 1910 the federal government began a suit for the company's dissolution.[4] This was terminated by consent decree announced December 21, 1921, when Domino Sugar stated that its effective control of refined sugar had dropped from 72% to 24%.

According to the Encyclopedia of New York City, "the struggle ended with a settlement in 1922 that allowed the firm to remain intact but forced it to refrain from unfair business practices, and as competition revived, the firm ceased to dominate the industry." After the Great Depression, the sugar refining industry declined as alternatives to sugar and modern technology were introduced.

American Sugar Refining Company continued to dominate the sugar industry in the United States through most of the 20th Century. Its brands included the dominant Domino Sugar, Franklin Sugar, Sunny Cane Sugar, and its West Coast beet sugar operation under the Spreckels brand. It had major refineries in Brooklyn; Charlestown, Massachusetts;[5] Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chalmette, Louisiana; and Spreckels, California.

Name change and takeover[edit]

In the early 1970s, the company made major investments in high-fructose corn syrup production, and changed its name to Amstar Corporation (ASR). It moved its headquarters from 120 Wall Street to 1251 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) (The Exxon Building) in mid-town Manhattan.

With investments in food-picking and handling machinery companies in the Midwestern United States, the company faced a takeover by the British sugar company Tate & Lyle in 1980. How long this lasted is uncertain since American Sugar is now part of another group.

The Domino brand name is currently associated with a company that also owns two of its former major competitors, C&H Sugar (California and Hawaii) and Jack Frost (National Sugar Company).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Arrington, Leonard J. (1966). Beet sugar in the West; a history of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1891–1966. University of Washington Press. pp. 54–55. OCLC 234150.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of New York City
  3. ^ ', 156 U.S. 1, 15 S.Ct 249 (1895)
  4. ^ "Federal Attack On Sugar Trust", The New York Times, November 29, 1910
  5. ^ Helen O'Neil, "A look back on the decades when Domino operated a sugar refinery on Medford Street", Charlestown Patch, May 15, 2011.